Once was the day, I observed a ring of redness around the mouth of a little girl. I was disturbed by this, leading me to question her mom as to why this was. She explained, it was indicative of some type of disease. I was saddened by the visible outbreak. Then saddened by what I’d learned in that moment. Strangely enough, my heart immediately went out to the mother first, then to the child. I drew back to what I’d experienced as a young child. I would subconsciously lick around the lips of my mouth that formed red rings – much like the little girl’s but as I remember, not as severe. It is one thing to have chapped lips from the cold of the season that would legitimately warrant this type of behavior but reasoning beyond the season is another thing. I never fully surmised what was behind mine. Nevertheless, my mother helped get me through it and I’d like to think my sister too. Howbeit, for the first time, as my eyes fell on that little girl, I thought about what it must have been like for my mother to witness. Did she become heavily concerned about the health of her little girl? What was causing the irritation? Was she vastly affected by this? Probably so.
My mom was the first to determine the habit that bore a physical outbreak. I hadn’t yet made the discovery myself. Evidently, I did it without thought. She questioned if I were afraid or nervous about something. I sensed her concern. And because she made me conscious of it, I began to (as much as I knew how) pay attention to and make an effort to stop doing it. I can’t recall if she sought the help of professionals or did her steady gaze and attention to prayer was what added to its demise or maybe it was the frequent trips to the library that would end it. It could’ve been a combination of all these things.
As my sister reported for summer duty at the library, she had no problem letting me tag along. As far as I know, it was all her idea. At least her welcoming and loving spirit made it seem so. She would happily spread tons of carefully selected books across the table for my reading. A whole new world began to open up to me. I can’t help but think that this had something to do with the healing – directing my attention elsewhere. Long story short, once identified, the behavior ceased to persist.
Imagine the presence of a big sister in the little girl’s life. Could it help make the difference in the healing of her body and the saving of her soul? I believe so – some how, some way, just as my sister’s engagement did. She has her mom as I did, but I thought, what would it be like to have both a big sister and a mom to aid in her progress.
While the circular motion ended, in later years, the throat clearing began. Again, my mother was the first to recognize my behavior. However, during this time, I was older and my attention better concentrated. I realized, the throat clearing surfaced while pensive in thought and deep with concerns. I wasn’t as much a talker as I was a thinker and observer and it became more apparent as I grew older. Born into a family of the social majority, I was one of the minority. I did talk some but obviously, not enough for my sister. Thus, my thoughts remained lodged in my throat until my sister, my friend persisted yet again.
My sister, a champion in communications, not only wanted me to talk but to have a discussion with her. It wasn’t enough that she had two other sisters to converse with, she longed to hear my voice. “Why are you so quite?”, “Are you okay?”, is what she’d say. And if by chance she witnessed my silent tears, her concern became all the more elevated. I can vividly recall a time when my mother gently scolded her behind all her questioning. Though she knew she meant well, my mom said, “Just leave her alone, she’ll be okay.” In my silence, choked with tears, my mother was not only my voice on that day but on any given day. Whenever she gave an explanation behind my silence, behind my tears, it proved to be exactly what she’d articulated on my behalf. It always amazed me that she could tell where I stood emotionally although I didn’t mumble a word. At the time, my sister hadn’t matured in this gift. Therefore, I believe, she’d grown weary for me – my thoughts and where they could lead if left alone. Clearly, she knew I had them but no knowledge of what they were. So after several attempts for my voice to be heard, she suggested I keep a journal to secure and convey my thoughts. She understood the importance of communicating and having a place for thoughts and emotions to reside. She gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse – a place to house my hopes, my dreams and my prayers. My songs, poems, and compositions decided to move in too. It’s a special place I call home.